Algeria: Influential Personalities against Bouteflika’s 5th Term

It seems that several prominent Algerian personalities can no longer take it or hold their tongues. They say “enough is enough”. The political masquerade and the drama unfolding in Algeria must end, the sooner the better for the interest of the Algerian people held hostage by political & economic crisis, which has reached its apex.

Among the furious voices calling for political change in the North African country, two former ministers and one retired general who urge Algerians to unify their ranks to enable the country avoid descending into chaos.

These are Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, former foreign minister and presidential candidate in 1999, Ali Yahia Abdenour, ex-minister, lawyer and human rights activist and retired General Rachid Benyelles, former navy chief.

“That’s enough!”, they said in a press release published lately by Algerian media, stirring a fresh debate on the capabilities of the head of state to rule and remain in office.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika “is no longer able to lead” the country due to his health condition, they added voicing opposition to his bid for a 5th mandate.

“The current head of state, very heavily handicapped, is clearly no longer able to continue to lead the country,” they stressed in their joint statement.

“In any other democratic country, such a situation would have led either to a voluntary resignation by the President for the sake of the Nation’s supreme interests or to constitutional removal from office”, they underlined.

Bouteflika, who is 80 and has held office since 1999, won a fourth term in a 2014 election after he suffered the previous year a stroke that affected his speech and mobility.

He has since used a wheelchair during his rare appearances in public.

Members of his team have publicly suggested that he may run for a fifth term in 2019 elections.

In their joint statement, Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, Ali Yahia Abdenour and retired navy chief Rachid Benyelles said Bouteflika should be barred from seeking a fifth term.

They accused “those who really hold power — namely the president’s family circle and a group of powerful oligarchs” — of preparing as candidate “an old man who is impotent and unable to express himself”.

Their statement follows numerous calls by opposition figures, intellectuals and academics for Bouteflika’s removal.

In power since 1999, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who rarely appears in public, holds a record of longevity at the head of Algeria.


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